Alive in Christ, Part 3 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #165)
A series of homilies on Ephesians
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 2:1-3:
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Lewis Drummond said, “The spiritual disciplines of 2 Chronicles 7:14 are not just conditions for a true revival; they are the revival itself.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If we had more sleepless nights in prayer, there would be far fewer souls to have a sleepless eternal night in hell.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Four years after revival broke out under Jonathan Edwards’ preaching, people throughout all the English colonies were stirred to conversion through the preaching of another great evangelist, the Englishman George Whitefield. Benjamin Franklin published Whitefield’s fiery sermons for the masses to read, and these publications contributed to the revival as well.”
Continuing with the theme of remembering where we have come from on our journey from sinners to saints, Paul reminds us that we were once just as bad as the people whom we now are often eager to condemn. Notice that Paul includes himself in the number: “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
The word “conversation” is another metaphor for lifestyle. Our lifestyle was that of people who seek only to fulfill the desires of the flesh and the carnal desires of the mind. We pursued the things of this world instead of the things of God. We were blinded to the fact that we were being led on by Satan and that we were, “by nature,” the “children of wrath.” In other words, we were headed for destruction and Hell where we would experience the wrath of God.
Why is Paul focusing on this? Shouldn’t we be putting the past behind us and looking toward the future. Yes, we ought to put the past behind us, but that does not mean we ought to completely forget the past. If you play with fire and get burnt, after you have recovered from your injury, it would be wise for you to remember the painful sensation of being burnt so that you won’t play with fire again. You also ought to remember the pain so that you can warn others about the danger of playing with fire. That is what this is about.
One commentator said, “The converts are to be reminded what they have been delivered from, as well as what they have been lifted into. They must be led to look down again into the pit, into the grave, from which grace called them out and set them free.” The grace that we have experienced ought to spur us on to look back and pull others out of the fire, and look to our glorious and bright future at the same time.